Portrait | Nominee

Eric Pawlitzky


The committee of the Aids Widows Self-Help Group of Nyabondo


Three hundred widows in the Kenyan village of Nyabondo have joined together to establish a self-help organisation. The majority of its members have lost their husbands to AIDS and are frequently also HIV-positives. More than 20% of the people in the Nyabado region are infected with the disease. Traditionally, Kenyan widows are destined take on the role of cheap labour for the family of their deceased husbands and are met with a sometimes more or sometimes less friendly reception. In contrast, the women portrayed here, all members of the committee of the organisation, are attempting to achieve autarchy for themselves and the other widows. Frequently responsible for several children, they symbolise a new perception of the role of women in African society.

I learned much about these women during a reportage project on medical aid services and was impressed by their confidence and intelligence from the first moment on.